REP Explores Adding Solar PV and Big Battery to 600MW Wind Farm in Western Downs, Queensland

Renewable Energy Partners (REP) are now looking for ways to include solar PV and big battery as part of their plan to develop a 600 MW wind farm in the Western Downs region of Queensland—specifically near the town of Wandoan. 

The REP is excited by this proposal, especially since they have received strong support from the QLD government, and the Western Downs Council, for their renewable energy projects. Due to overwhelming support, they are motivated to support the region to become the renewable energy powerhouse of Australia. 

The Wandoan Project

So, what are the specific plans for the Wandoan Project? The project would have up to 96 wind turbines that will be set on a 14,000-hectare site. It may also house a solar PV and battery energy storage system as part of the project. 

Once this is fully operational, the wind farm may power up to 172,000 homes and create 250 jobs during construction and 22 jobs during ongoing operations. 

This is REP’s fifth renewable development project in the Western Downs region. Currently, it is developing the following: 

  • 250 MW Hopeland Solar Farm
  • 150 MW/300 MWh Ulinda Park battery project
  • 500 MW Wambo wind farm

The Solar Farm

It was earlier this year when REP announced their Warrego project, wherein the construction will start in the first quarter of 2024. The amount of sunshine, strong grid, and solid support that the area gets make the project possible. Additionally, with the increasing demand for clean energy to fuel Queensland, the Warrego project is excellent support for the government’s ambition of developing large-scale hydrogen hubs. 


Wind Power Generation in Australia

The generation of wind power in the country has grown significantly since the 1980s. To date, it is still the largest renewable energy source in Australia. Indeed, the country is well-equipped to generate wind energy, specifically in the following areas: 

  • Southwest of Western Australia
  • Southern South Australia
  • Western Victoria
  • Northern Tasmania
  • New South Wales
  • Queensland

Tasmania, Western Australia, North Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales are leading in wind energy generation. 

What makes wind popular in the country for energy is that it is incredibly cheap, along with solar PV. 

Since last year, there have been more wind farm projects than ever. It includes four huge projects with energy systems between 180-228 turbines. In the next five years alone, there are 60 wind projects planned for construction. 

The goal of the wind industry, by 2030, is to have 50 per cent of the share of electricity generation in the country. It may seem a bit ambitious; nevertheless, it is a huge opportunity for investors and those who are planning to get into the wind energy sector in the future. 

Another noteworthy development is the first offshore wind zone in Australia that provided developers the green light to speed up the planning and consultation for wind farm projects. The first offshore wind zone will be off the Gippsland coast, located in the southeast of Victoria. 

Other areas will follow off the coast of Hunter Valley and Illawarra in New South Wales, Portland in Victoria, Northern Tasmania, Perth, and Bunbury in Western Australia. The announcement is the beginning of the 60-day consultation period with communities and users of waters in the nominated areas that will be facilitated by the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. 

Wind Energy

Unbeknownst to some, wind energy is actually a type of solar energy. What sets it apart from the use of solar panels to generate energy is that it comes from changing air temperature and pressure. It converts wind’s kinetic energy into electric energy through the use of wind turbines. Wind is created from the heating of our atmosphere by the sun, along with the rotation of the earth, which in turn generates pressure and, therefore, wind. This is why wind is actually a form of solar energy! 

This kinetic energy forces the wind turbine blades to turn, which then causes a series of gears connected to the electric generator to spin. It then converts the energy from the wind into electricity. 

It’s true that despite these developments in Australia’s wind industry, the country still has a long way to go to keep up with the major players in the world. However, with the significant increase in industry growth, along with the growing number of projects in the pipeline, Australia has the potential to be an industry leader. 

With Australia’s continuous efforts to invest in Offshore and Onshore wind projects, it will lead to higher capacity factors, a diverse energy supply that works well with solar, and more employment opportunities. 

Energy Matters has over 17 years of experience in the solar industry and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.

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